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School of Languages and Social Sciences Distinguished Visitor Lectures 2015/6

Monday, 23 November, 1-2pm, MB552

LSS Distinguished Visitor Research Seminar

Dr Niels Penke (University of Siegen):

Nationhood and Belonging. Is "Heimat" a specifically German concept?

Throughout the last 200 years Heimat (homeland) has been one of the most important and controversial concepts in German culture and politics. Heimat provides a sense of belonging, a rural anchor in a world of globalization that is considered to become more opaque with every day. Heimat promises reliability – and insures the individual identity in relation to a collective as an imagined community – so it is emotional, irrational, subjective, social and political at the same time, linking people, space and cultural ascriptions. Thereby, it creates not only mental boundaries but also real exclusions. 

This talk focuses on the history, images and ideology associated with the concept of Heimat, exploring the contemporary discussion in Germany in a European context. 

Thursday, 17 December, 4-5pm, MB373

LSS Distinguished Visitor Research Seminar

Dr Olga Shevchenko (Williams College, USA):

Empire in the album: Soviet vernacular photography and the construction of Soviet space

Can we think of “empire” not as a macro sociological and political structure, but as something that lives on in everyday micro-practices, such as amateur photography? A guided excursion through Soviet family albums suggests this much. Travel photographs (ranging from formal group photographs of organized travel to amateur snapshots of the “wild nature”) are of particular interest here, because they can translate into everyday terms and naturalize such profoundly ideological constructs as empire, nation and citizenship. In this talk, we will see how such translation took place in the USSR, and explore the responses that Soviet-era travel snapshots evoke today.